1965 article sheds light on what the Phoenix Trotting Park used to be

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A picture of Phoenix Trotting Park in the west Valley when it first opened. (Source: U.S. Trotting Association) A picture of Phoenix Trotting Park in the west Valley when it first opened. (Source: U.S. Trotting Association)
More than 12,000 people attended the inaugural race day on January 11, 1965. (Source: U.S. Trotting Association) More than 12,000 people attended the inaugural race day on January 11, 1965. (Source: U.S. Trotting Association)
The venue closed almost two years later. (Source: U.S. Trotting Association) The venue closed almost two years later. (Source: U.S. Trotting Association)
The race track will be reduced to rubble by the end of day Sunday. (Source: U.S. Trotting Association) The race track will be reduced to rubble by the end of day Sunday. (Source: U.S. Trotting Association)
Demolition started on Wednesday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Demolition started on Wednesday. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

To some, it's an eyesore in the desert.

To others, it's an intriguing piece of architecture and part of Arizona's history.

Most drivers know it as a landmark that lets you know you're almost home to Phoenix from California.

The former Phoenix Trotting Park, a horse racing track in Goodyear near the Interstate 10 and Loop 303 will soon disappear in the desert.

It has been left standing and abandoned for more than 50 years.

Demolition started Wednesday.

[RAW VIDEO: Aerial view of horse trotting park demolition]

Jim Middleton with BCS Enterprises, Inc. is in charge of demolition. He said there will be no implosion because of "liability concerns" and the structure will be wrecked in pieces starting with the roof and grandstands.

Middleton estimated it will be reduced to rubble by the end of day Sunday. However, it'll take two months to completely clear the land.

He hopes to be done by end of November.

Some drivers stopped by Wednesday to reflect on the iconic building they pass every day.

Rhianna Phillips is intrigued by its mystery and stopped to take a picture since she'll never see it again.

"It looks like something you would see out of a horror movie," said Phillips.

"I'm a little disappointed because I think they should open it and make a museum or something like that," she added.

Others who pulled over to the side of the road expressed they wish they could go inside.

Middleton urged for people to stay outside the fence, which he says has been an ongoing issue.

"The reason the owner is taking it down is because of all those trespassers. He's got an issue with safety and the only way it can be handled is getting rid of what they consider an attractive nuisance," said Middleton. 

He assured bats or other wildlife that have called the abandoned building home are not being harmed in the process.

[RELATED: Phoenix horse trotting park set for demolition Wednesday]

Stacy Campos said her parents attended at least one event at the track.

"When it opened up, it was exciting, it was grand. It was a design they'd never seen before," she recalled them telling her.

Valley man Keith Mosca worked on the set of "No Code of Conduct," an action-crime drama shot at the abandoned property. The movie was released in 1998 and starred Martin Sheen and Charlie Sheen as detectives who discover a drug-smuggling ring. Mosca was in charge of props.

On Wednesday, Mosca recalled his time in the building 20 years ago and said he's sad to see it go.

"It was pretty scary looking once we got in there. There was a lot of feral cats, a lot of pigeons, as you can imagine from being in there all those years," he said. "The building itself doesn't look that large until you get up in there and it's incredibly huge."

3TV/CBS 5 reached out to the U.S. Trotting Association who sent us pictures and its 1965 magazine article of what it used to be like when it opened in 1965.

[RELATED: The old Phoenix Trotting Park set for demolition]

The headline read, "An Architectural Paragon, Has Set Out to Win the West," and described the multimillion-dollar Phoenix Trotting Park as "modern wonder of the old west" and an "Italian-styled racing palace."

More than 12,000 people attended the inaugural race day on January 11, 1965, but the excitement didn't last long. The venue closed almost two years later.

Trotting is a form of horse racing where the rider rides in a cart attached behind the horse.

So far, the owner has no immediate plans for the property.

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